Code of the District of Columbia

§ 24–903. Sentencing alternatives.

(a)(1) If the court determines that a youth offender would be better served by probation instead of confinement, it may suspend the imposition or execution of sentence and place the youth offender on probation.

(2) The court, as part of an order of probation of a youth offender 15 to 24 years of age, shall require the youth offender to perform not fewer than 90 hours of community service for a District government agency, a nonprofit, or a community service organization, unless the court determines that an order of community service would be unreasonable.

(2A) A positive test for use of marijuana, or a violation of § 48-1201, shall not be considered a violation of an order of probation unless the judicial officer expressly prohibits the use or possession of marijuana, as opposed to controlled substances generally, as a condition of probation.

(3) By September 30, 2019, the Mayor shall develop and furnish to the court a youth offender community service plan. The plan shall include:

(A) Procedures to certify a nonprofit or community service organization for participation in the program;

(B) A list of agencies of the District government or non-profit or community service organizations to which a youth offender may be assigned for community service work;

(C) A description of the community service work to be performed by a youth offender in each of the named agencies or organizations;

(D) Procedures to monitor the attendance and performance of a youth offender assigned to community service work;

(E) Procedures to report to the court a youth offender’s absence from a court-ordered community service work assignment; and

(F) Procedures to notify the court that a youth offender has completed the community service ordered by the court.

(4) If the court unconditionally discharges a youth offender from probation pursuant to § 24-906(b), the court may discharge the youth offender from any uncompleted community service requirement in excess of 90 hours. The court shall not discharge the youth offender from completion of the minimum of 90 hours of community service.

(b)(1) If the offense for which a youth offender is convicted is punishable by imprisonment under applicable provisions of law other than this subsection, the court may use its discretion in sentencing the youth offender pursuant to this subchapter, up to the maximum penalty of imprisonment otherwise provided by law.

(2) Notwithstanding any other law, the court may, in its discretion, issue a sentence less than any mandatory-minimum term otherwise required by law.

(3) The youth offender shall serve the court's sentence unless released sooner as provided in § 24-904.

(c)(1) If the court sentences a youth offender under this subchapter, the court shall make a written statement on the record of the reasons for its determination. Any statement concerning or related to the youth offender's contacts with the juvenile justice system or child welfare authorities, or medical and mental health records, shall be conducted at the bench and placed under seal. The youth offender shall be entitled to present to the court facts that would affect the court's sentencing decision.

(2) In using its discretion in sentencing a youth offender under this subchapter, the court shall consider:

(A) The youth offender's age at the time of the offense;

(B) The nature of the offense, including the extent of the youth offender's role in the offense and whether and to what extent an adult was involved in the offense;

(C) Whether the youth offender was previously sentenced under this subchapter;

(D) The youth offender's compliance with the rules of the facility to which the youth offender has been committed, and with supervision and pretrial release, if applicable;

(E) The youth offender's current participation in rehabilitative District programs;

(F) The youth offender's previous contacts with the juvenile and criminal justice systems;

(G) The youth offender's family and community circumstances at the time of the offense, including any history of abuse, trauma, or involvement in the child welfare system;

(H) The youth offender's ability to appreciate the risks and consequences of the youth offender's conduct;

(I) Any reports of physical, mental, or psychiatric examinations of the youth offender conducted by licensed health care professionals;

(J) The youth offender's use of controlled substances that are unlawful under District law;

(K) The youth offender's capacity for rehabilitation;

(L) Any oral or written statement provided pursuant to § 23-1904 or 18 U.S.C. § 3771 by a victim of the offense, or by a family member of the victim if the victim is deceased; and

(M) Any other information the court deems relevant to its decision.

(d) If the court does not sentence a youth offender under this subchapter, the court shall make a written statement on the record of the reasons for its determination and may sentence the youth offender under any other applicable penalty provision. Any statement concerning or related to the youth offender's contacts with the juvenile justice system or child welfare authorities, or medical and mental health records, shall be conducted at the bench and placed under seal.

(e) If the court desires additional information as to whether a youth offender will benefit from sentencing under subsection (b) of this section, the court may order that the youth offender be committed for observation and study at an appropriate classification center or agency. Within 60 days from the date of the order or an additional period that the court may grant, the court shall receive the report.

(f) Subsections (a) through (e) of this section provide sentencing alternatives in addition to the options already available to the court.


(Dec. 7, 1985, D.C. Law 6-69, § 4, 32 DCR 4587; Jan. 31, 1990, D.C. Law 8-61, § 2, 36 DCR 5798; July 17, 2014, D.C. Law 20-126, § 405, 61 DCR 3482; Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 102(c), 65 DCR 9554.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-803.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-403.01 and § 24-403.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-126 added (a)(2A).

Editor's Notes

Section 501 of D.C. Law 20-126 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to Law 6-69, see Mayor’s Order 87-61, March 10, 1987.